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Johanna Thoma
Universität Bayreuth
  1. Taking Risks on Behalf of Another.Johanna Thoma - 2023 - Philosophy Compass 18 (3):e12898.
    A growing number of decision theorists have, in recent years, defended the view that rationality is permissive under risk: Different rational agents may be more or less risk-averse or risk-inclined. This can result in them making different choices under risk even if they value outcomes in exactly the same way. One pressing question that arises once we grant such permissiveness is what attitude to risk we should implement when choosing on behalf of other people. Are we permitted to implement any (...)
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  2. Risk aversion and the long run.Johanna Thoma - 2019 - Ethics 129 (2):230-253.
    This article argues that Lara Buchak’s risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory fails to offer a true alternative to expected utility theory. Under commonly held assumptions about dynamic choice and the framing of decision problems, rational agents are guided by their attitudes to temporally extended courses of action. If so, REU theory makes approximately the same recommendations as expected utility theory. Being more permissive about dynamic choice or framing, however, undermines the theory’s claim to capturing a steady choice disposition in the (...)
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  3. Decision Theory.Johanna Thoma - 2019 - In Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.), The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology. PhilPapers Foundation. pp. 57-106.
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  4. On the possibility of an anti-paternalist behavioural welfare economics.Johanna Thoma - 2021 - Journal of Economic Methodology 28 (4):350-363.
    Behavioural economics has taught us that human agents don't always display consistent, context-independent and stable preferences in their choice behaviour. Can we nevertheless do welfare economics...
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  5. Instrumental Rationality Without Separability.Johanna Thoma - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (5):1219-1240.
    This paper argues that instrumental rationality is more permissive than expected utility theory. The most compelling instrumentalist argument in favour of separability, its core requirement, is that agents with non-separable preferences end up badly off by their own lights in some dynamic choice problems. I argue that once we focus on the question of whether agents’ attitudes to uncertain prospects help define their ends in their own right, or instead only assign instrumental value in virtue of the outcomes they may (...)
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  6. Temptation and preference-based instrumental rationality.Johanna Thoma - 2018 - In José Bermudez (ed.), Self-control, decision theory and rationality. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.
    In the dynamic choice literature, temptations are usually understood as temporary shifts in an agent’s preferences. What has been puzzling about these cases is that, on the one hand, an agent seems to do better by her own lights if she does not give into the temptation, and does so without engaging in costly commitment strategies. This seems to indicate that it is instrumentally irrational for her to give into temptation. On the other hand, resisting temptation also requires her to (...)
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  7. Social Science, Policy and Democracy.Johanna Thoma - 2023 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 52 (1):5-41.
    Philosophy &Public Affairs, Volume 52, Issue 1, Page 5-41, Winter 2024.
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  8. Risk Imposition by Artificial Agents: The Moral Proxy Problem.Johanna Thoma - forthcoming - In Silja Vöneky, Philipp Kellmeyer, Oliver Müller & Wolfram Burgard (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Responsible Artificial Intelligence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
    Where artificial agents are not liable to be ascribed true moral agency and responsibility in their own right, we can understand them as acting as proxies for human agents, as making decisions on their behalf. What I call the ‘Moral Proxy Problem’ arises because it is often not clear for whom a specific artificial agent is acting as a moral proxy. In particular, we need to decide whether artificial agents should be acting as proxies for low-level agents — e.g. individual (...)
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  9. The influence of private interests on research in behavioural public policy: A system-level problem.Liam Kofi Bright, Jonathan Parry & Johanna Thoma - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e150.
    Chater & Loewenstein argue that i-frame research has been coopted by private interests opposed to system-level reform, leading to ineffective interventions. They recommend that behavioural scientists refocus on system-level interventions. We suggest that the influence of private interests on research is problematic for wider normative and epistemic reasons. A system-level intervention to shield research from private influence is needed.
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  10. Advice for the Steady: Decision Theory and the Requirements of Instrumental Rationality.Johanna Thoma - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    Standard decision theory, or rational choice theory, is often interpreted to be a theory of instrumental rationality. This dissertation argues, however, that the core requirements of orthodox decision theory cannot be defended as general requirements of instrumental rationality. Instead, I argue that these requirements can only be instrumentally justified to agents who have a desire to have choice dispositions that are stable over time and across different choice contexts. Past attempts at making instrumentalist arguments for the core requirements of decision (...)
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